It can be difficult to start dating again after a divorce, especially if you're a single parent. A lot of single parents refrain from seeing anyone while their kids are small, but when their children become teenagers, they start thinking about getting back into dating. Teenagers are not stupid, they will inevitably understand that there's something going on. So how to tell your teenage kids you're dating again before they figure it out on their own?
Teenagers can be freakishly smart, so even if you're sure you're super sneaky about the whole dating thing, you should be very careful. Most teens basically have a PhD in sneakiness, you can only fool them for so long. So if you decided to begin dating again, you should tell your kids. We aren't saying that you have to introduce them to every man or woman you go on a date with (that's actually a really bad idea). They just have the right to know that you are dating.
The matter is that teenagers may find you dating difficult to deal with, so the earlier you tell them, the more time they will have to wrap their heads around it. They need to get comfortable with the idea that one day you'll find a new partner before you actually introduce them to this person.
How much you want to discuss this topic with your kids depends on their age and your relationship with them. If they are middle schoolers you can simply state that you're going on a date tonight and ask them whether they are okay with that. If your kids are in high school, you might need to elaborate a bit more.
It is important to be honest and truthful when you're sharing your plans for dating with your kids. Explain to them that everyone deserves to find love again even if their previous relationship failed. Let them know that you're taking things slow for now and they won't have to meet a potential stepdad or stepmom anytime soon (and even if they have a stepparent one day, your new partner will never replace their other parent). You should also promise them that your dates won't take away from your family time and then stick to your promise.
The kids can take your confession in different ways. They may be happy for you. They may think that it's no big deal. They may get upset or even angry. You should encourage them to express their feelings, but you shouldn't let them dictate the terms of your love life. Don't let them manipulate you into living a life of celibacy just because they are jealous or scared that they will lose you.
We strongly advise that you don't tell your kids much about your love life. They can be aware that you're seeing someone, but they don't need to know every detail. Even if you're best buddies like Lorelai and Rory Gilmore from “Gilmore Girls”, oversharing is bad. If you need a confidant, gush and vent to your BFF.
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